When to See a Doctor about ADHD | Keller Family Medicine Practice

When to See a Doctor about ADHD | Keller Family Medicine Practice
May 23, 2017
When to See a Doctor about ADHD | Keller Family Medicine Practice

Understanding attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) isn’t easy. It’s nuanced and, depending on circumstances, it can be confusing. Is it a sickness? Or is it a disorder? Or condition? Is it terrible to have or something one can work through?

And, if one suspects ADHD, who would he or she see for a diagnosis?

One’s doctor at a family medical practice in Keller, TX?

A healthcare professional at a Keller medical clinic?

A psychiatrist? Psychologist? (What’s the difference between these two, anyway?)

How about a therapist?

A shaman?

When to See . . . Someone

To start one must realize that ADHD is not like the flu or a kidney stone. You just don’t go to see your doctor at the family medical practice in Keller, TX or stop by a Keller medical clinic when the pain gets too much to handle.

ADHD takes time to manifest and this is taken into account during diagnosis. One doesn’t suddenly “get” ADHD like the flu. ADHD needs to be present for at least six months and not just on again, off again.

If any symptoms or conditions disrupt your life, or your child’s, then the next step is to talk with a doctor at a Keller family practice or a healthcare professional at a Keller medical clinic.

Who Can Diagnose ADHD?

Family Doctor

A family doctor is a great place to start because:

  1. He or she already knows you or your child’s medical history (unless you’re a new patient).
  2. Most people are conditioned by insurance companies to start with primary care physicians in its healthcare network, so family doctors know ADHD.

Advantages

  • Your family medical practice in Keller, TX or neighboring Southlake, TX or Watauga, TX is already familiar with your family medical history. (Genetics is believed to play a big part in ADHD, so knowing family medical history is important.)
  • Chances are you like and trust your doctor. This is a good place to start a conversation that requires time and understanding.
  • The family doctor can prescribe medications.
  • The family doctor is often a less expensive option.

Disadvantages

  • Not all family doctors are as experienced with the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD as may be required.
  • Family doctors cannot offer counseling, unless a counselor is available as part of a larger, “full service” family healthcare practice in Keller, TX.
  • Treatment may extend beyond what a family doctor can do and a visit to a therapist may be needed, especially if medication is involved.
  • Family practitioners are busy and office visits may be hurried, so diagnosis may be hurried or inaccurate. ADHD requires quality discussion which may to be possible in a single visit.

Psychiatrist

A psychiatrist with a family practice in Keller, TX or available through a medical clinic in Keller, TX is also a good option. He or she is an M.D. who treats the brain.

Advantages

  • Should be more informed on ADHD than a family doctor.
  • Trained in brain and mental diagnosis.
  • Can diagnose and treat, including prescribing medication.

Disadvantages

  • Cost: fees can easily run more than $100 an hour.
  • Counseling: While psychiatrists can diagnose and treat, they may not be formally trained in the type of counseling that addresses the day-to-day issues that many people with ADHD face.

Psychologist

A psychologist understands how the mind works but is not an M.D., and cannot prescribe medications. If a psychologist feels medications are needed, he or she must refer the patient to either a medical doctor or a psychiatrist at a Keller family medical practice or a Keller medical clinic.

Advantages

  • Trained in diagnosis
  • Trained in counseling
  • Cost less than a psychiatrist

Disadvantages

  • Cannot prescribe medications
  • Need to refer to another doctor or family healthcare practice in Keller, TX for an MRI or any other testing which could assist in diagnosis.

Nurse Practitioner

Oftentimes when going to see “the doctor”, patients end up with a nurse practitioner, who usually works with a general practitioner. That’s usually not a problem.

When it comes to ADHD, nurse practitioners offer the same benefits and drawbacks as seeing the family doctor, although some nurse practitioners are trained equally in medical treatment of mental health disorders as well as therapeutic interventions, including counseling.

Neurologist

A neurologist is a doctor who specializes in treatment of the brain and central nervous system, particularly after someone has suffered a stroke. He or she is not necessarily someone you’d start with if you suspect ADHD, although you can certainly end up working with a neurologist if circumstances warrant.

Advantages

  • Can determine if other conditions such as seizure disorder are present.
  • Has a much deeper understanding of how the brain works.

Disadvantages

  • Expensive
  • EEG testing for ADHD isn’t needed for diagnosis
  • Patient must be referred for any counseling or therapy

How to Bring Up ADHD with Your Doctor

In these hectic times, it’s not unusual for people to feel overwhelmed. That doesn’t mean you automatically suffer from ADHD.

Watch for ADHD Symptoms

But if you notice you cannot concentrate long enough to get through a movie or read a quick magazine piece (for months, not just the weekend), it may be time to “keep an eye on” possible ADHD symptoms.

Start a Journal

It’s highly recommended to keep a running log, or journal, of times and experiences when you think ADHD behavior is present. It doesn’t have to be a time consuming, exhaustive narrative or analysis. You want to have basic facts, conditions, feelings and observations at hand to help the doctor understand what you are facing.

Don’t Ignore

ADHD carries the stigma of being over-diagnosed, so many adults who suspect they may have ADHD ignore it or cast it aside.

As doctors and other healthcare professionals at family medical practices in Keller, TX or at medical clinics in Keller, TX note, it’s worth discussing if symptoms are interfering with your quality of life beyond inattention or hyperactivity.

Some examples to be aware of:

  • Having trouble being patient with your kids.
  • Feeling like you can’t stay on top of things, the feeling of being overwhelmed.
  • You can’t seem to get anything done on time.
  • You lack motivation to get things done.
  • You procrastinate on important things to do.
  • You frequently lose or misplace things.
  • You have a child with ADHD and you see some of your personality traits in the child.

Any of these in isolation is not enough to diagnose ADHD, but if multiple signs appear in parenting, relationships, and at work you should talk to a doctor at a Keller family medicine practice or at a Keller medical clinic.

Why Wait?

In many documented cases, people wait too long to bring up ADHD symptoms with their doctors — thus denying themselves treatment for years, if not decades. They do this for a variety of reasons, like thinking ADHD is over-diagnosed or they don’t want to be seen as a hypochondriac (both of which are real excuses).

How to Talk to a Doctor About ADHD

Have a Plan

To maximize the time you have with your doctor at a Keller family medical practice or at a Keller medical clinic, it’s best to have a plan. Office visits are quick and chaotic, so know what you want to say. It helps.

In fact, studies have shown that people with ADHD symptoms are often more accurate about their diagnosis than people with other conditions like migraines. Use your knowledge.

Be Brief

Briefly explain symptoms and then let the physician take control. This is because primary care physicians are under a lot of pressure to see patients in a short period of time, so the more time the doctor spends asking you questions the better.

Be Honest

In some cases, people who suspect they have ADHD may believe this because they’ve seen similar behavior in one of their children — again, genetics is believed to play a big role in ADHD. Some parents have gone so far as to take their kid’s ADHD medication and found it helps.

It’s never a good idea to take medication prescribed for someone else, and it’s not a good idea to keep that from a doctor you are seeing about the same issue. It’s information that can aid in discussion, diagnosis, and treatment. Visit www.buffingtonfamilymedicine.com in Keller, TX for all of your healthcare needs!